Gary Golding is a naked enigma. Known by many as The Tarzan of Los Angeles, he’s an extraordinary rouge, whose obstreperous behavior persuades millions to listen to his environmental plea, “Consume as little as possible.”
Gary’s battle cry brings attention to the fact that some 80 percent of the world is running on an ecological deficit, according to the Global Footprint Network, meaning it consumes more than its ecological resources can produce.
The mantra is permanently etched on his back in large block letters between his shoulder blades. It’s the reason he has spent months naked in the wilderness, much like the prophets of old, to engrain his message into the hearts and minds of people around the globe. Only, Gary is doing it on TV, on The Discovery Channel’s Naked and Afraid, and Naked and Afraid XL, airing Sundays at 10 p.m. EST. It may sound crazy, but that’s how Gary rolls.
“I went on Naked and Afraid for one reason and one reason only; to make the sentence ‘Consume as little as possible’ the consciousness of humanity in every language on earth,” Gary said. “I didn’t go to test my survival skills and I don’t proudly kill animals for sport, ever. I am a survivalist with nothing to prove but only have a message to spread.”
Apparently, it’s working. The Discovery Channel airs these shows to more than 40 million people on hundreds of stations globally. The fan base is enormous. Social media has a field day with them. Now, people everywhere are asking, “Who is this wild man Gary Golding and what the hell is he talking about?”
Using television as a springboard for activism is critical to Gary’s movement. The reality TV series “Naked and Afraid” is an epic 21-day challenge in which one man and one woman are left to fend for themselves, naked, (though their naughty bits are sufficiently blurred for TV), in the harshest wilderness scenarios the producers can imagine, with only a few tools to assist in their survival. The “Naked and Afraid XL” series takes the concept one step further, gathering some 13 naked survivalists into tribes, who endure 40 days of hell in the wilderness. Cast members could be left in a swamp in Louisiana or Florida, a desert in Brazil, the jungles of Nicaragua, the Smokey mountains, or the savannas of Africa or Australia, among others. In both shows, cast must build shelter, hunt, fish, find and boil water, make primitive fire, gather edible plants, and protect each other from predators. Battling starvation, thirst, the elements and relentless attacks by insects adds to the harrowing experience. Some make it all the way through to extraction. Others “tap out,” for various reasons, some due to medical emergencies.
Gary was medically evacuated from his first 21-day adventure in Brazil after eating tainted fruit just a few days before completing the challenge. Producers were struck by Gary’s personality and tenacity so much, that eight days into his first challenge, they invited him to endure the 40-day “Naked and Afraid XL” journey in Africa the same season. He accepted.
Gary Golding’s commitment to his core message, ‘Consume as Little as Possible,’ was clearly in evidence during his Naked and Afraid challenge in Brazil,” said David Story, Executive Producer. “I’ve never been more impressed by the toughness of a cast member. The sand fleas, biting horseflies, and ubiquitous gnats were horrendous. Gary knew that each day was going to be an exercise in insect misery, but he embraced it fully. Some days I watched as literally thousands of gnats swarmed his myriad wounds, and he didn’t complain. With each day, he was doing more than proving that it’s possible to survive without consuming much. He was proving it’s possible to survive without consuming anything. It definitely made an impact on me.”
While Gary is an amusing character who seems to delight in making people uncomfortable, he succeeds in driving home the message that humans are consuming too much.
“I made it to a show where you consume almost nothing. You start with, at most, nothing,” Gary said. “You’re being filmed in a country that is being devoured by the planet: Brazil. And I told the producers and insisted, ‘I’m not one of these people on the show who’s here to test himself.’ I’m a man who knows exactly why he’s alive. And I’m alive to consume as little as possible. I want to change the world.”In addition to his TV appearances, he is a teacher, a public speaker, a nature tour guide, a bee-keeper/rescuer, and activist. He confesses he’s a loud attention-grabber. On the show, he relishes eating bizarre foods, like brains, eyeballs, and testicles.
Those who witness his shenanigans might think he’s extremely eccentric. Indeed, some fans have said he’s “nuts” and “full of himself.” But Gary is a crafty devil. He knows exactly what he’s doing. The more obnoxious he is, the more outrageous his antics, the more exposure his message gets. You might say that the sentence “Consume as littles possible” consumes him.
Using his mantra as his corner stone, his colorful metaphors and use of obscenities underscore his disgust for the wasteful traditions mankind has created for itself. He raises awareness of the horrifying misery, slavery, and vast destruction of land, animals and people caused by the diamond industry, tackling the problem while simultaneously helping to bring water to under-developed nations. He’s taking on the foolishness of one-use plastics, too, like balloons. Gary recently cleaned his local beach of no less that eight mylar balloons with “Happy Mother’s Day” printed on them.
“I live for one sentence and everything I do revolves around that one sentence: Consume as little as possible,” he said.
For more information about Gary’s mission, visit his websites at: facebook.com/tarzanoflosangeles, http://tarzanoflosangeles.com. To learn more about how to reduce consumption of natural resources, visit: https://www.epa.gov/recycle. For more information and statistics on global consumption of resources The Global Footprint Network.